Blackhawks 1, Lightning 4 — Three Stars, Key Takeaways

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Blackhawks 1, Lightning 4 — Three Stars, Key Takeaways

Chicago Blackhawks

So Tyler Johnson didn’t start the game, Patrick Kane didn’t finish it and the Blackhawks somehow hung around with one of the best teams in the NHL. If you can figure this one out please let me know in the comments because the Blackhawks got their lunches handed to them by two of the worst teams in the league over the weekend and then competed their butts off in this one and made it interesting much longer than many thought they would.

Star 1: The Goal Posts

After a solid first period in which the Blackhawks out-shot the Lightning 12-6, Chicago was completely under siege in the second. Alex Stalock was doing everything he could to keep the puck out of the net — and he got plenty of help from the posts behind him. The Lightning had three Grade A looks at the net that hit the posts in the first half of the second period alone, including the one below off the stick of Brandon Hagel.

Star 2: Alex Stalock

Look, I know this team is offensively (and defensively) challenged. But I really get the sense that Stalock is asserting himself as the No. 1 goaltender on this team right now. He’s playing with some attitude and making a lot of impressive saves. He can’t do everything by himself. He sure as hell can’t score. But I wouldn’t be shocked if he got a lot more run on the homestand with the days off between games.

Star 3: Caleb Jones

The Blackhawks threw us a curveball just as the game was about to begin. They had seven defensemen on the ice for warm-ups… and they ended up scratching Tyler Johnson at the last minute (even though he skated in warm-ups) and inserting Caleb Jones into the lineup. So… Jones was going to be the seventh defenseman, right? Nope. Caleb Jones was skating as the left wing on the third line from the get-go. An intriguing experiment to keep in mind for when Jarred Tinordi comes off IR. Skating primarily as a wing, Caleb finished the night with two hits, two takeaways, one shot on net and one blocked shot in 12:42 on ice.

Takeaways

  • Patrick Kane did not come out for the third period and the Blackhawks officially announced he was done for the night about five minutes into the final frame or regulation. He had two shots on net in 12:57 over the first two periods of the game. That is, of course, not ideal when you’re desperately trying to compete with one of the better teams in the NHL.
  • Head coach Luke Richardson wasn’t at the morning skate. When he spoke with the media on behalf of Richardson, Derek King blamed it on “bad shrimp” and said there was a sickness going around. So Tyler Johnson (non-COVID illness) not playing and Kane leaving may be related to Richardson also being under the weather.
  • Seth Jones‘ power play goal was the first PPG scored by a defenseman since May 1, 2021 — a span of 123 games. Yes, that’s a terrible stat, but at least now it’s over. And, on the play, Jones drove right down the middle of the ice and parked himself in front of the net where he received a pretty feed and tapped it past Brian Elliott. A nice wrinkle to the offense.
  • After out-shooting the Lightning 12-6 in the first period, the Blackhawks were on the reverse end of the stat in the second; Tampa out-shot the Hawks 13-6 in the second period.
  • I really, honestly don’t know what Boris Katchouk does for this team. Even without Kane or Tyler Johnson in the game, I found myself kinda hoping Caleb Jones would get a shift over Katchouk at times in the third period.
  • After a relatively quiet first period, Brandon Hagel cranked it up in the second. In the third, he assisted on the go-ahead goal and then scored a power play goal to extend Tampa’s lead to 3-1.


Author: Tab Bamford

Tab is the Lead Blackhawks voice for BN. He is the author of two books about the Blackhawks, most recently "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter at @The1Tab